VINA & VINA CRAFTING
Throughout his career, Dr. Karaikudi S. Subramanian has undertaken numerous projects dedicated to the preservation and promotion the vina and its craftsmanship.
Brhaddhvani has organized a number of events for the revival and documentation of the vina tradition, including festivals of vina as a solo instrument and festivals of vina as an accompanying instrument as a revival of an older tradition.
Patronization of vina crafting has become greatly reduced throughout the last half a century, and vina craftsmen suffer on account of lack of patronage. This is intensified by the increasing popularity of the electronic vinas. At Brhaddhvani, vina craftsmen have been patronized since the early 90s. Dr. KSS has initiated projects to support and preserve the art of vina crafting and vina craftsmen. He has collaborated with the German instrument maker Norbert Beyer to bring about an elaborate illustrative book in German on vina craftsmanship.
With the support from India Foundation for the Arts, Brhaddhvani collaborated with Dharani, a school of performing arts in Kochi, to undertake the documentation of Sopanam, the traditional temple music of Kerala. This unique musical tradition predates Carnatic music, yet it is now almost extinct. Presently, Sopanam is only performed in select temples and as an accompaniment to the Indian classical dance form known as Kathakali.
The project's primary objective was to identify, document, and notate the ragas and talas intrinsic to Sopanam music. By doing so, the project aimed to enhance its accessibility, particularly among musicians and dancers.
In addition to producing audio and video recordings of the music, meticulous notations were created to capture its essence. Dr. KSS employed his own notational system known as the "svarasthana notation" for this purpose.
As a culmination of these efforts, Sopanam music has become considerably more accessible than it would have been otherwise. The musical tradition has been comprehensively documented, resulting in the creation of 5 DV tapes, 75 audio tapes, 5 mini discs, 1 VHS tape, over 100 slides, and almost 500 photographs—a testament to the preservation and safeguarding of this cultural treasure.